Chris Cillizza in the Washington Post:
A look across the polling landscape on the Obama Administration’s increased reliance on drones suggests that support for the strikes is not only wide but also bipartisan.
A February 2012 Washington Post-ABC poll showed that eight in ten Americans (83 percent) approved of the Obama Administrations use of unmanned drones against suspected terrorists overseas — with a whopping 59 percent strongly approving of the practice. Support for the drone attacks was also remarkably bipartisan. Seventy six percent of Republicans and 58 percent of Democrats approved of the policy.
In that same poll, respondents were asked whether they supported using drones to target American citizens who are suspected terrorists, the question that stands at the heart of the recent flare-up in Congress over the practice. Two thirds of people in the survey said they approved of doing so.
It’s not just Post-ABC polling that suggests the use of drones is widely popular with the American public. A September 2011 Pew poll showed that 69 percent of people said that the increased use of drones was a good thing while just 19 percent said it was a bad thing.
The reason drone strikes are popular? Because they are perceived to be effective in reducing the threat of terrorism without endangering American lives.
I think it goes beyond not putting American lives in danger. Drones remove us from the battlefield. A drone hitting a house in Afghanistan is controlled by someone sitting in a control room in California or wherever playing with a joystick. They might as well be playing Call of Duty.
I’m all for keeping our soldiers out of harm’s way, and if there’s a way of keeping our enemies at bay without endangering our lives, I’m all for it. But when you remove the element of the horror of war and make it little more than an abstract objective with a target seen on a TV screen, it becomes routine and forgettable.
We’ve never wanted to know what is done in our name. Somehow that seems to make us morally superior.